COWLEY – The Lingle-Fort Laramie High School football team dug themselves a 21-0 hole and were unable to get out of it in a 63-19 season-ending loss to the Rocky Mountain Grizzlies in the opening round of the Class 1A 9-Man division playoffs.
It took the home team all of one minute to find the end zone for the first time, taking a 7-0 lead.
Rocky Mountain found its way back into the endzone two more times in the final moments of the first quarter to take a 21-0 lead into the second quarter.
“Rocky Mountain is a very talented team. We were outmatched physically at the line of scrimmage. We knew that would be a challenge for us. They are very, very big, and as a team, very athletic. They move side-to-side very well,” coach Brandon Gifford said. “Defensively, we were undermatched and had a hard time finding ways to slow them down.”
In all, the Grizzlies racked up 558 yards of offense on the LFL defense.
Meanwhile, on the other side of ball for the Doggers, Lingle was able to total 378 yards of offense on 54 plays – 217 through the air and 161 on the ground.
“Offensively, we moved the ball actually,” Gifford said. “We were able to move the ball and had opportunities to score. We’d either made mistakes or penalties.”
The mistakes proved costly, putting Doggers behind the sticks and ultimately stall the drives.
“It was our Achilles heel that took us out of our rhythm,” Gifford said.
Finally, with 8:52 left in the second quarter, senior quarterback Brian McCoid competed the first of two touchdown passes to sophomore Louden Bremer.
The second came with 8:27 left in the third quarter, but by that time, Rocky Mountain’s lead was 41-12.
With 3:41 left in the third, the Grizzlies pushed their lead to 63-12, kicking in the running clock rule for the remainder of the game.
Lingle managed to get one more touchdown with 16 seconds left in the game courtesy of a 19-yard run by sophomore Kaiden Riggs.
“There are things if we could have performed better at and execute better offensively, we’d have put more points on the board,” Gifford said. “Hats off to Rocky Mountain. They are a very, very good football team.”
McCoid ended the game 9-of-21 passing for 161 yards and two touchdowns. Bremer hauled in seven passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Slade Hopkins led the team in rushing with 86 yards on 12 attempts, while Riggs added 69 yards on 10 tries.
The Dogger season ends with a 6-3 record.
“It’ll be sad missing that senior crew. They’ve done a great job staying with it and giving our younger players a platform to stand on and continue to improve and get better. I can’t thank our seniors enough for that,” Gifford said. “We have a lot of young guys coming back at skill positions, which is exciting. We need to continue to get depth. Hopefully our numbers stay strong so we can have some depth. The line of scrimmage, both offense line and defense line, we’ll need some young guys to step up, and we need some help there. I’m hoping this offseason, we’ll get those guys in the weight room, and they’ll be willing to make some of those sacrifices to get better.”